Caroline Israels Named GCC Player of the Year

April 25, 2017

SAN DIEGO - San Diego State senior Caroline Israels has been named the 2017 Golden Coast Conference Player of the Year, the league announced today. SDSU’s leading goal scorer was one of five Aztecs to earn all-GCC accolades and was joined by Alyssa Diacono, Kate McDonnell, Ioli Benekou and Shelby Kraft.

Hailing from Pompano Beach, Florida, Israels netted her second conference player-of-the-year award of her career after sharing the highest GCC honor as a sophomore in 2015. Israels, who also landed on the all-league first team for the third straight season, led SDSU in goals (60), assists (37), steals (82), multi-goal games (19), hat tricks (8), multi-assist games (11) and multi-steal games (20). The senior also ranked second on the team in ejections drawn with 24.

Joining Israels on the all-Golden Coast first team was another senior in Diacono. The Ladera Ranch native earned her second consecutive first-team appointment and third all-league recognition after picking up honorable mention recognition as a freshman in 2014. Diacono posted 41 goals, 10 assists, 34 steals and a team-best 84 ejections drawn, which is the seventh most in SDSU single-season history. She also had 10 games with multiple goals, including six hat tricks, nine multi-steal games and two multi-assist efforts.

McDonnell, the Aztecs’ starting goalkeeper, was voted to the all-GCC second team. A junior in her first year starting, McDonnell made 218 saves and had a goals-against average of 8.64. The Tualatin, Oregon product had eight double-digit save efforts, including an 18-stop performance in a GCC game vs. Pacific. Following her career-high outing, McDonnell was named the Golden Coast Player of the Week.

Benekou wrapped up her GCC career with an honorable mention selection, which marked the third time she has made the conference postseason award list. The defender from Greece was a first-team performer in 2014 and 2015, and was the 2014 Newcomer of the Year. In 2017, Benekou ranked second on the team in goals (42), multi-goal games (11) and multi-steal games (19), and third in steals (65), assists (20) and hat tricks (4).

Kraft, meanwhile, rounded out the SDSU group of award winners by earning a spot on the Golden Coast All-Freshman Team. She is the third Aztec in the last three seasons to have made the team. Kraft, who hails from Rancho Cucamonga, had five goals, one assist, 11 steals and five ejections drawn in 21 games. Her goals, steals and games played totals led all San Diego State freshmen.

SDSU, the four-time Golden Coast Conference regular-season champions, will look to defend its GCC Championship crown this weekend in Santa Clara. The Aztecs enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and received a bye into the semifinal round, which is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. San Diego State will meet the winner of fourth-seeded Azusa Pacific and fifth-seeded Santa Clara.

2017 GCC All-Conference Honors

Player of the Year
Caroline Israels, San Diego State (Sr., UTL)

Newcomer of the Year
Amber Penney, Fresno Pacific (Fr., UTL)

All-GCC First-Team
Kyra Christmas, Pacific (Fr., ATT)
Alyssa Diacono, San Diego State (Sr., CTR)
Paizlee Dreyer, California Baptist (Sr., DR)
Mariana Duarte, Pacific (Fr., ATT)
Caroline Israels, San Diego State (Sr., UTL)
Lina Medeiros, California Baptist (Sr., GK)
Hana Vilanova, LMU (So., DR)

All-GCC Second-Team
Mar Pastor Alvarez, Azusa Pacific (So., CTR)
Hannah Buck, Santa Clara (So., 2M)
Rachel Krieger, Pacific (Jr., UTL)
Kate McDonnell, San Diego State (Jr., GK)
Amber Penney, Fresno Pacific (Fr., UTL)
Lizette Perez, California Baptist (So., DR)
Caitlin Schafer, LMU (Sr., DR)

All-GCC Honorable Mention
Ioli Benekou, San Diego State (Sr., DEF)
Cathy Cantoni, Santa Clara (Sr., DR)
Sky Flores, LMU (So., GK)
Karolina Hlavata, Pacific (Jr., ATT)
Valerie Spezzaferri, California Baptist (Sr., DR)
Emily Varisco, Concordia (Sr., UTL)

GCC All-Freshman Team
Kyra Christmas, Pacific (Fr., ATT)
Lydia Dadd, Santa Clara (Fr., GK)
Mariana Duarte, Pacific (Fr., ATT)
Shelby Kraft, SDSU (Fr., UTL)
Maggie Oys, Santa Clara (Fr., UTL)
Amber Penney, Fresno Pacific (Fr., UTL)
Mireia Tutusaus Alcarez, Azusa Pacific (Fr., ATT)

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